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Teaching & Research

– Support for Teaching And Research (STAR)

Faculty Budget Allocation System1

Johnson's budget allocation system (STAR, for Support for Teaching and Research) is applicable for regular, full-time tenure track faculty members and others as deemed appropriate by the Dean and/or appropriate Associate Dean. Under this system, each summer the Dean's Office establishes an expense budget, totally separate from a faculty member's compensation package, that the faculty member can use to support his or her research, teaching and service in the following academic year.

Underlying the STAR system is the belief that individual faculty members are in the best position to know how they can most efficiently spend the dollars available to them. Specific dollar amounts centrally budgeted by the School are difficult to trade off. In the past, this has resulted in inequities and inefficiently used resources. The objective of this system is to increase the effectiveness of the School's resources.

Each individual faculty member's basic budget allocation takes into account research responsibility. Budgets reflect research requirements including building or acquiring databases not maintained by the School (such as subject-intensive experiments), when productivity is evident. Allowances are made for junior faculty who have not had sufficient time to build a resume. Lecturers or adjunct, visiting or part-time faculty normally receive STAR allocations driven primarily by course enrollment; e.g., the Xeroxing supplement and TA allowances as indicated under "Add-ons." Exceptions to this policy will be subject to approval by the appropriate Associate Dean.

STAR allocations may be reduced when a faculty member goes on leave but remains in Ithaca and continues with his/her research and/or travels. Faculty going to another institution at which he/she receives support; i.e., in the form of secretarial assistance, communications, etc., may possibly see their allocations reduced as well. If this is the case, allocations typically will be increased to at least their level before the leave after the faculty member returns.

Faculty who are in their terminal year also may see a reduction in their overall STAR allocations. Support for telecommunications, classroom materials, and on-going research projects to be completed during the faculty members' terminal year at the School will be provided. If additional resources are needed, the faculty member may submit a request in writing to the appropriate Associate Dean.

ALL items purchased using STAR funds remain the property of the University and not the faculty member. ALL goods and services, regardless of price, must be purchased through the University. Expenditures permissible under University guidelines are generally allowable with these dollars.

Add-ons: In addition to the standard STAR allocation, additional amounts are added to the STAR account to support teaching efforts as follows:

For TA support the following add-on amounts are for full semester, three credit-hour courses, excluding those taught in the executive MBA Programs, and are adjusted for courses of different length and for team-taught courses. The calculation is:

� � � # of Students = $TA Allowance (from the table below)/3 (Credit Hours)*(# of Credit Hours of the Course)/# of Instructor

Note: EMBA and Cornell-Queen's EMBA courses are totally separate. Charges when identified as EMBA or CQEMBA are charged directly to the respective Program.

  1. Xeroxing Supplement: $4.00 for every registered student taught.
  2. TA Allowance: Faculty will receive additional funds as follows:
    Number of Students in Course TA Allowance


    21.0 $1,000
    41.0 $2,000
    71.0 $3,000
    101.0 $4,000
    131.0 $5,000
    161.0 $6,000
    191.0 $7,000
    221.0 $8,000
    251.0 $9,000
    281.0 $10,000

    These additions to the budget will be made based on the number of registered students (normally this determination is made after the University Add/Drop Period).

  3. Other Options: Where funds are not sufficient to cover an innovative effort or specific funding is needed for course development, a proposal for additional dollars can be made to the appropriate Associate Dean.

    Funds allocated to the STAR account, with the exception of those funds earmarked for course development, may be used in any way as long as the expenditure is permissible under University guidelines. For example, the TA allocation need not be used to hire a TA.

    Items that are reimbursed out of the STAR account are as follows:

    1. Secretarial and basic RA and TA support. Amounts paid to RAs and TAs are determined each year by the professor(s) based on effort. The Financial Service Center can provide faculty with a cumulative total for student wages charged to the STAR account upon request. Note: A few faculty have preferred to use as TAs former students who have already graduated. These TAs must be hired as temp employees, and are more costly and harder to hire given that temps are now subject to hiring restrictions. Therefore, please try to use current students as TAs if at all possible
    2. Books and journal submissions (annual subscriptions to academic journals for the current fiscal year, and extended subscriptions for faculty on continuing appointments). Note: library staff will arrange to automatically have emailed to faculty the tables of contents of their preferred set of academic journals, and then have emailed to them copies of articles that interest them. This results in very convenient access to journal articles and saves lots of money on individual journal subscriptions (and office shelf space!).
    3. Computers, monitors and printers. Faculty are allowed one office computer and a laptop, as well as replacements. As upgrades occur, the equipment being replaced will be returned to the School. To make sure the School isn't over-spending on hardware, technology purchases that exceed the following thresholds must be pre-approved by the appropriate Associate Dean:
      1. Laptop: $2100
      2. Desktop (excluding monitor): $1100
      3. Monitor allowance (one or two monitors): $800
      4. Printer (black & white laser, duplex): $400
    4. All of these purchases must occur within the specified replacement cycle (currently 4 years) for hardware. Also, please do not buy new hardware if existing hardware can adequately meet needs.
    5. Tablet Devices: In addition to the current STAR guidelines that allow the purchase of a desktop and laptop, faculty members who have a full-time faculty appointment at Johnson can be reimbursed from their STAR account up to $700 for a tablet device, which may be replaced every three years. NOTE:  iPad users may wish to consider including AppleCare (provides two years of technical support plus a two year warranty) in your purchase. Depending on the tablet you choose, the allowance of $700 may cover or exceed the cost of the base model; faculty may purchase higher-end versions by covering the difference personally.  Optional data plans and other ancillary expenses must also be covered with personal funds. 

       Please note that the expense of $700 will be reimbursed as a Job Related Allowance (JRA), hence it may be taxable to you. While Technology Services can offer advice (email johnsonhelpdesk@cornell.edu), you need to order the machine on your own and then seek reimbursement from Human Resources (Amy Bennett, amb54@cornell.edu).    

      Exceptions: We acknowledge that there may be times that you have specific business need to purchase Apps/accessories for these devices. In situations like this, we request that faculty reach out to Tech services with a business purpose for the requested purchase. If there isn’t a non-app option to cover the need, reimbursement will be processed as a JRA (see above).

    6. Individual or joint databases; compensation paid to experimental subjects (Note: obtain appropriate receipts for reimbursement).
    7. Office equipment and/or furniture in addition to that which is provided in the standard faculty office configuration. Note: only purchases that are necessary for professional use of the office will be reimbursed (e.g., easy chairs, couches, etc. will not be reimbursed by the School).
    8. Professional travel and related expenses (or appropriate per diem in accordance with university guidelines). Note: The same guidelines associated with meals for workshops also apply to meals and other entertainment that is charged to their STAR account. Please try to be cost conscious.
    9. Professional association membership fees.
    10. Some costs for non-U.S. citizens obtaining work authorization (check with HR for specifics)
    11. Telecommunications costs, e.g., long-distance fees, equipment, Voice Mail, E-Z Backup, networking ports, and toll calls, etc.
    12. Cost of moving office equipment and books to and from a sabbatical location.
    13. Postage, faxes, express mailings, Xeroxing and other reprographics.
    14. For tenured faculty, the cost of purchasing the academic regalia particular to the university granting their PhD.
    15. Other reasonable research- and teaching-related expenses not explicitly mentioned as items excluded.

    Major expenditure categories that are paid for by the School without having to be reimbursed out of the STAR account are as follows:

    1. Office space, utilities, basic office furniture and necessary repairs and maintenance of such items.
    2. Mainframe computing time; maintenance for standard microcomputer and printer configurations; as well as basic databases, such as Compustat.
    3. Research support services provided broadly to the School (e.g., Business Simulation Lab, standard research computing assistance.
    4. Conference travel specifically for recruiting.
    5. Funds to support recruiting, workshops and classroom visitors (unless monies are built into the STAR allocation, which may be the case for visiting faculty member).
    6. RAs assigned to the faculty member through the Doctoral Program. These assignments are contingent on the needs of the Ph.D. students and faculty contributions to the Doctoral Program and student development.
    7. Participation as an invited guest in club events or other alumni-related activities.
    8. Administrative requests including School or University committee expenditures.

    Major expenditure categories that are NOT paid for by the School and are NOT reimbursable out of the STAR account include:

    1. Equipment, desk-top computers, furniture or other items to equip a home office.
    2. Unnecessary office furniture (e.g., easy chairs, couches).
    3. Personal cell phones and smart phones.
    4. Tuition payments to a faculty member's respective school until the degree is conferred.
    5. Personal moving expenses associated with a sabbatical (STAR funds can be used to pay for moving office equipment and materials).
    6. Note: If in doubt, ask the appropriate Associate Dean prior to making a questionable purchase.

    Some general characteristics of the STAR system are as follows:

    1. STAR account balances are a binding constraint. Deficits will carry over to the following year, and at the Dean's discretion can be required to be reimbursed by the faculty member out of their own pocket before the funds for the next fiscal year can be accessed.
    2. July 1 through June 30, concurrent with the University's fiscal year, is the budget year.
    3. Any expense should be submitted within three (3) months if reimbursement is expected.
    4. Dollars allocated are nontransferable among faculty members, but may be allocated to doctoral students to support research.
    5. For faculty on a terminal appointment, fund balances and all items purchased with STAR funds (including computers and other equipment) revert back to the School at the end of the appointment.
    6. If a faculty member is on a continuing appointment, account balances carry forward from one fiscal year to the next, up to the amount of one full year's allocation. (Thus, the ceiling on a STAR account is twice the current year's allocation.)
    7. All purchases made with STAR dollars are the property of Johnson, and should remain at the School unless approved by the appropriate Associate Dean (laptop computers are an exception to this policy). This includes computers purchased from Grants and/or Contract funding. Equipment can be purchased from the School at fair market value, as determined by the School's Technology Services Office, if the equipment is at least three years old.
    8. A faculty member may elect to allocate any portion of any Summer Support to STAR. The advantage is that purchases are paid with pretax dollars. This option can be exercised annually but, once decided, is irrevocable.
    9. Technology Services will perform modest equipment repairs without charge to the faculty member. If the equipment is under warranty, Technology Services will request an estimate and champion the repair effort. Repairs estimated to exceed 50% of the fair market value of the equipment will be approved if the faculty member requests it and will be charged to the faculty member's STAR account.
    10. Network connectivity through telephone access via Cornell's EZ-Remote modem service is permissible because it is necessary for any off campus access. Road Runner Service, or any of the independent service providers are not normally reimbursable expenses. Exceptions for research purposes require approval by the appropriate Associate Dean.
    11. Research Grants: Some faculty have obtained research grants from the NSF, NIH, and other entities. Grants provide overhead to the School, can provide extra summer money to faculty, and can also support unique faculty needs. Grants can support purchases of equipment, data, etc. that fall outside typical STAR guidelines. We encourage faculty who have not been seeking grants to consider doing so. For assistance in writing grants, please contact Mark Fallon, Grant and Contract Officer, at 255-9817 or mbf33@cornell.edu.

1Last modified July 24, 2009.

2"Appropriate Associate Dean" refers to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs when the faculty member is on the tenure track, and the Associate Dean for MBA Programs when the faculty member is not on the tenure track.

Contact Information
207 Sage Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: (607) 255-6418
Fax: (607) 255-5117